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Fast Food Fortunes How Much For A Big Mac

The Economist’s ‘Big Mac’ Index is a well-known comparison of the relative cost of an item (in this case the ubiquitous burger) in different countries, once the local currency has been converted into US dollars, to provide an indication of the cost of living in various places around the world. In shipping, largely, the dollar rules, but investors still need ways of measuring the cost of potential returns…

Every week SIW records vessel earnings across a wide range of sectors. However, to understand the ‘cost’ of returns in shipping other factors need to be taken into account too. Taking inspiration from the ‘Big Mac’ Index, one interesting approach might focus on the outlay required to generate a return of $5.28 (The Economist’s US ‘Big Mac’ reference price), to create a shipping equivalent. The metric used here takes into account investment in a 5 year old ship, holding the asset for one year, and the return generated through earnings (less OPEX) and sale value of the asset at one year older (see details in graph description). The investment needed to generate one ‘Big Mac’ unit of ‘return’ is then calculated, and the graph shows this expressed in relative terms.

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